1965 was the year I turned two. As I watch our grand-babies grow I can see that being two is awesome. So many people are involved in your life and interested in your progress other than your parents and medical professionals as previously noted. There are grandparents, great grand parents, Aunties, Uncles, cousins, second cousins, neighbours, honorary grandparents, honorary great grand parents, parental employers…and the friends of all of them as well. Two is a year when everyone “gives a shit” (or cares) about you. Two is also the year when your parents start to care about when you give (or have) a shit too…and toilet training causes your bodily functions to be a major focus!!!!!
This photograph was taken in Napier at our family home in Burke Street prior to the skilful renovations and rebuild that was carried out by my clever dad with able assistance from Mum and all of us.
My post today focuses on the extended family and network of people who influenced me in those very early years. My Parents, Tony and Barbara Smith, were the centre of the family that included my older sister Anne-Louise and myself.
My grandfather Dee (Gordon Huia Floyd) lived nearby and was a regular fixture in our lives. I recall Sunday lunches at his home in Battery Road, trips in his Ford Prefect, the lollyjar and fizzy drinks, belgium biscuits, jam tarts and lemon tarts. His Neighbours included Francie and Alf Hare on one side and Ruby and Jimmy Duncan on the other. Contact with Dees extended family included local visits to Aunty Rae, Aunty Kathy and Uncle Harry, and trips to ‘The Farm” at Oringi near Dannevirke to visit with Jack and Olleen Adrian and their three girls.
Dads parents, Stanley and Anne Smith, lived further afield in Timaru but we went to see them and they came to see us on what seemed to be a regular basis. Dad was the eldest with four brothers and a sister who were all were role models/ inspiration for me. I wanted to be tall like uncle Lloyd and pretty like Aunty Judy. Uncles Francis and Bruce were heroic soldiers while Uncle Keith was brainy. As I got older and got to know them better they, and their spouses, continued to be mentors to me in different aspects of my life – even if they never knew it. In later years they were to bless me with a battalion of cousins that made family holidays great fun.
There were also some significant people in our neighbourhood –
Nan (Myrtle) Wilson was always there and in my earlier years she was accompanied by Pop Wilson. I don’t have a first memory of Nan because she just was. She wasn’t my Nan , she was everyones Nan but really belonged to Missy who became one of my early school friends and ballet partner. Nan told me I was a bit of a cry baby when I was little and liked to hang around mum when the ladies got together for their morning socialising and sewing. Nan said used to make me go and sit in the paddock next door until I hardened up (or got quiet) and played with the other children.
Frank and Philippa Marsden lived up the hill from us with their three girls and were probably the people we associated with most socially. Uncle frank shared Mums birthday, they had their own business, a TV, a pool and travelled to places like Fiji. They had an exotic Nonna who brought them treasures from overseas that made dressing up and putting on entertainment for the adults such fun – but I was a bit older than two then.
Molly & Leckie Paul lived down the hill from us when my brother Chistopher was still a baby – so I may have been 4 or 5. Aunty Molly and Uncle Leckie had a hoarde of kids, one who shared Mums birthday. I dont recall having lots to do with them but about twenty years later when my daughter Alisha was born Auntie Molly was working in the delivery suite and it was a great comfort to me to have a ‘family member’ present.
What I recall most from this extended family is that these people believed in me…always and without question. Even when I didnt (dont) believe in myself their belief in me has been my strength. As the years pass so to have many of these foundations of my being…. this has left gaping holes and a huge challenge. When I think of these people, both living and passed, the Whitney Houston song, The Greatest Love of All…. springs to mind
I believe the children are our future
Teach them well and let them lead the way
Show them all the beauty they possess inside
Give them a sense of pride to make it easier
Let the children’s laughter remind us how we used to be
Everybody’s searching for a hero
People need someone to look up to
I never found anyone who fulfilled my needs
A lonely place to be
And so I learned to depend on me
I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I’ll live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can’t take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all
For all these people were and are to me they taught me and showed me the way, they are my heros….and through it all the biggest challenge in my life had been learning to to depend on me, keeping my dignity and learning to love myself, if I fail, if I succeed….I need to live as I believe. On the days (weeks and years) when that has been too hard to do I take comfort in the fact that they believed I could do it…. and now I owe it to them (and to me) to believe in myself.
In the years since I was two my family tree, at approaching the age 50, is rather complex but none the less the people in my extended circle of family and friends are supportive of myself, my husband and all of our collective children and their off spring.
He aha te mea nui o te ao He tangata, he tangata, he tangata